Skip to main content

Samuel Wanjiru Resigns From Team Toyota Kyushu

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/olympic/2008/news/track/long/news/20080728-OYT1T00534.htm

translated by Brett Larner

On July 28, Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu of Miyawaka, Fukuoka Prefecture, received a letter of resignation from its star runner, Kenyan Olympic marathon team member and half marathon world record holder Samuel Wanjiru, 21. The letter was sent by a Tokyo law office and stated that Wanjiru would be resigning "for personal reasons." Wanjiru has been training in Kenya separately from the team since mid-July. Representatives from Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu commented, "We have to confirm that this letter was actually sent by Wanjiru and that this is really his intention."

Wanjiru joined Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu in 2005 after graduating from Sendai Ikuei High School in Miyagi Prefecture where he studied as an exchange student. In his debut marathon at last December`s Fukuoka International Marathon Wanjiru won the race in a course record time. In April this year he was 2nd in the London Marathon and was selected for the Kenyan Olympic team.

Translator`s note: Wanjiru joined Team Toyota Jidosha Kyushu because its coach is Barcelona Olympics marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita. Wanjiru is based in Japan most of the year, returning to Kenya several times a year for training and racing around the world through his association with agent Federico Rosa and his father, coach Gabrielle Rosa.

Since moving toward the marathon in the last year Wanjiru has been pulled in opposing directions by Morishita and Rosa, initially announcing he would run his debut marathon in Fukuoka, then switching to New York, then back to Fukuoka when Toyota Kyushu blocked his New York plans. Following Wanjiru`s course record debut victory at Fukuoka Morishita publicly stated that he didn`t want Wanjiru to run in the London or the Olympic marathons, but rather to spend a few years gradually building his experience before seeking to break through on the world level as a marathoner. Wanjiru ran London in an extremely fast time and was selected for the Kenyan Olympic team on the strength of that performance. He has spent much of his time since London pacemaking Toyota Kyushu teammates in their attempts to make the Japanese Olympic team in the men`s 10000 m.

Although Wanjiru claims to value his status as a jitsugyodan runner in Japan and the experience it brings him, it would appear that the limitations the Japanese system imposes, including a 180 day residency requirement, participation in particular ekidens and track races, and limitations on being able to select overseas races independently, have come to outweigh the benefits for a runner of Wanjiru`s ability.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

18-Year-Old Waithaka Runs 10000 m World Leading Time at Nittai - Weekend Roundup

photo by @tsutsugo55225

For the second time in the last three weeks, a Japan-based Kenyan ran the fastest time in the world this year for 10000 m at Yokohama's Nittai University Time Trials series. On October 20th it was 2015 World U18 Championships 3000 m gold medalist Richard Kimunyan (Hitachi Butsuryu), 20, with a 27:14.70  that surpassed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei's world-leading mark by almost five seconds. This time it was 2018 World U20 Championships 5000 m silver medalist Stanley Waithaka (Yakult), 18, taking almost two minutes off his PB to break Kimunyan's mark with a 27:13.01 win.

Both winners received support from 2014 Commonwealth Games steeplechase gold medalist Jonathan Ndiku (Hitachi Butsuryu), who ran season bests for 2nd place each time, 27:50.38 three weeks ago and 27:28.27 on Saturday. 2013 World U18 Championships 3000 m bronze medalist Alexander Mutiso (ND Software) was also under 28 minutes, running just off his PB at 27:42.16 for 3rd. Kazuma Taira (Kan…

2018 Japanese Distance Rankings - Updated 11/11/18

JRN's 2018 Japanese track and road distance running rankings. Overall rankings are calculated using runners' times and placings in races over 5000 m, 10000 m, half-marathon and marathon and the strength of these performances relative to others in the top ten in each category. Click any image to enlarge.


Past years:
2017 ・ 2016 ・2015 ・ 2014 ・ 2013 ・ 2012 ・ 2011

© 2018 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Go Ahead and Call It a Comeback - Niiya Breaks Shibui's Course Record in Return to Road Racing

Ladies and gentlemen, Hitomi Niiya is back.

You might remember Hitomi Niiya from the 2013 Moscow World Championships 10000 m, where she led the entire way only to get destroyed over the last lap and finish 5th in 30:56.70. That made her the third-fastest Japanese woman ever over that distance, but not long after that race she quit the sport entirely, getting an office job as far away from athletics as she could and not running for almost five years.

But the pull of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is strong, and, now 30, early this year she made the decision to try to make a comeback. Under the eye of former men's 800 m national record holder Masato Yokota she ran a 3000 m and two 5000 m time trials on the track between April and October before choosing the East Japan Women's Ekiden for her return to the roads and the longer distances.

The East Japan Women's Ekiden celebrated its 34th running Sunday, 9 stages totaling 42.195 km through the Fukushima countryside with teams from eac…